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Progarchives, the progressive rock ultimate discography

JAZZ ROCK/FUSION

A Progressive Rock Sub-genre


From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Jazz Rock/Fusion definition


  1. Jazz Fusion is jazz that is strongly influenced by other styles of music. Jazz fusion is an ambiguous term that provides the first level sub-set down from Jazz. Jazz rock is a sub-sub set from jazz via jazz fusion. The ambiguity comes from an American tendency through the 90's and until now, to freely interchange jazz rock and jazz fusion, when in fact the latter term covers most hybrids of jazz fused with other forms of music. The roots of jazz rock can be traced back to RnB influenced soul-jazz artists such as Les McCann, Grant Green and Jimmy Smith, and young British jazzers such as Graham Bond, Ginger Baker, John McLaughlin, Jack Bruce, Georgie Fame, who were forced to use electronic instruments because the local club's acoustic instruments were reserved for the older established jazz musicians. Probably the first jazz artists that released recordings that mixed modern rock (circa 60s) with jazz were Larry Coryell, Jeremy Steig, Charles Lloyd, The Soft Machine, and The (Jazz) Crusaders. Meanwhile rock artists such as Cream, Grateful Dead and The Jimi Hendrix Experience were getting a lot of publicity and fame with their lengthy improvisations based on blues, rock, psychedelia and some jazz. These rock artists had an impact on Miles Davis who generated a lot of media attention to this new jazz-rock genre with his Bitches Brew album. From there the genre grew and exploded into numerous different directions. One of these directions was brass rock as exemplified by bands like Dreams, Chicago, BS&T and If. These bands combined elements of jazz, rock and classical music with arrangements for brass and woodwinds.

  2. Many other styles of music have been combined with jazz to create fusion including traditional music from around the world, R'n'B, rock, electronic music and pop music and jazz from Africa, Latin America, India and other places. One of the earliest examples of the use of the term fusion comes from the Indo-jazz fusion of Joe Harriott and John Mayer. Some of the more popular early practitioners of fusion included Weather Report and Herbie Hancock's Sextant. A few years later Shakti appears on the scene and expands the boundaries of fusion further, foreshadowing the World Fusion movement of the 90's.

  3. In part Nu.jazz grew out of the British acid jazz scene of the late 80s and early 90s, whilst modern leaders of nu.fusion cite Miles Davis and Jon Hassell as the godfathers of the genre. As the genre began to develop it took on other influences such as world beat/jazz fusion, psychedelic trip-hop, post-rock and mixtures of ambience with modern jazz. The jazz with electronia experiments that Jon Hassell was conducting in the late 80's, with the likes of Eno, were to be a major influence especially on the dance side of nu.jazz, sometimes known as nu.fusion. Three main elements make nu.jazz different from the more traditional jazz (rock) fusion. First of all there is less of an emphasis on instrumental virtuosity in nu.jazz (especially nu.fusion). Second, more use of electronics (especially skilled turntablism) and studio trickery that emphasizes sound textures. Third, nu.jazz tends to use more modern rhythms such as drum'n'bass, hip-hop, post-rock, and various mixtures of world beat rhythms. Progressive nu.jazz artists such as Bugge Wesseltoft, Nils Petter Molvaer and the Esbjörn Svensson Trio (E.S.T.), combine complicated compositions with modern rhythms to create new unheard of soundscapes - while the former two are leaders of nu.fusion, and with more emphasis on jazz playing, EST have been the leaders in straighter nu.jazz. Nu.jazz is loosely connected to other newer jazz fusion genres, particularly the more progressive live, jazz jam bands such as Medeski Martin & Wood or Garaj Mahal. It may seem that the only difference between the two genres is the country the artist is from or what scene they came up through.li>

Only the most progressive of nu jazz, jazz-rock and fusion artists are listed on Progarchives, although accceptability or not here may vary from person to person. All artists have elements of progressive rock in their music (e.g. Jean Luc Ponty, Bill Bruford or David Sancious) or they represent the most forward-looking and progressive element in their genre (e.g. Miles Davis, Herbie Hancock or Weather Report). It should be noted that those many Canterbury jazz rock fusion bands, e.g. Soft Machine, Soft Works, Soft Heap, Soft Machine Legacy, Gilgamesh etc. are to be found under the CANTERBURY heading in Prog Archives.

Dick Heath
John 'Easy Money'
Martin 'Alucard' Horst
(Edition 3.2. Nov 2009)

Current Team Members as at 12/24/14

Evolver (Scott)
Man With Hat (Phil)
Darkshade (Mike)
historian9

Jazz Rock/Fusion Top Albums


Showing only studios | Based on members ratings & PA algorithm* | Show Top 100 Jazz Rock/Fusion | More Top Prog lists and filters

4.36 | 904 ratings
KIND OF BLUE
Davis, Miles
4.33 | 1135 ratings
BIRDS OF FIRE
Mahavishnu Orchestra
4.30 | 626 ratings
IN A SILENT WAY
Davis, Miles
4.28 | 507 ratings
SPECTRUM
Cobham, Billy
4.43 | 77 ratings
THE COLOURS OF CHLOË
Weber, Eberhard
4.30 | 249 ratings
HIROMI'S SONICBLOOM: TIME CONTROL
Uehara, Hiromi
4.30 | 232 ratings
WE'LL TALK ABOUT IT LATER
Nucleus
4.26 | 857 ratings
THE INNER MOUNTING FLAME
Mahavishnu Orchestra
4.26 | 592 ratings
ROMANTIC WARRIOR
Return To Forever
4.25 | 609 ratings
BITCHES BREW
Davis, Miles
4.23 | 712 ratings
ELEGANT GYPSY
Di Meola, Al
4.24 | 506 ratings
ABRAXAS
Santana
4.23 | 631 ratings
CARAVANSERAI
Santana
4.27 | 223 ratings
LES PORCHES
Maneige
4.30 | 132 ratings
STADACONÉ
Sloche
4.31 | 115 ratings
SVěT HLEDAčů
Blue Effect (Modrý Efekt; M. Efekt)
4.29 | 138 ratings
A BENEFIT OF RADIM HLADÍK [AKA: MODRÝ EFEKT & RADIM HLADÍK]
Blue Effect (Modrý Efekt; M. Efekt)
4.28 | 139 ratings
MILESTONES
Davis, Miles
4.23 | 287 ratings
ENIGMATIC OCEAN
Ponty, Jean-Luc
4.28 | 130 ratings
SVITANIE
Blue Effect (Modrý Efekt; M. Efekt)
4.23 | 275 ratings
CROSSINGS
Hancock, Herbie
4.24 | 207 ratings
PAT METHENY GROUP: THE WAY UP
Metheny , Pat
4.21 | 334 ratings
VALENTYNE SUITE
Colosseum
4.36 | 67 ratings
L'AXE DU FOU
Forgas Band Phenomena
4.24 | 179 ratings
MAIDEN VOYAGE
Hancock, Herbie
4.23 | 174 ratings
TILT - IMMAGINI PER UN ORECCHIO
Arti e Mestieri
4.30 | 89 ratings
BIG FUN
Davis, Miles
4.40 | 49 ratings
QUALIA
Syrinx
4.23 | 149 ratings
HARAKKA BIALOIPOKKU [AKA: B THE MAGPIE]
Pohjola, Pekka
4.67 | 23 ratings
REALIZATION
Henderson, Eddie
4.24 | 118 ratings
'ROUND ABOUT MIDNIGHT
Davis, Miles
4.50 | 33 ratings
TERJE RYPDAL
Rypdal, Terje
4.28 | 80 ratings
DARK SHOT
One Shot
4.20 | 192 ratings
A TRIBUTE TO JACK JOHNSON
Davis, Miles
4.69 | 21 ratings
Вижу Землю / LOOKING AT THE EARTH
Gunesh Ensemble
4.20 | 161 ratings
J'UN OEIL
Sloche
4.24 | 108 ratings
PAT METHENY GROUP: OFFRAMP
Metheny , Pat
4.20 | 153 ratings
MYSTICAL ADVENTURES
Ponty, Jean-Luc
4.16 | 287 ratings
HYMN OF THE SEVENTH GALAXY
Return To Forever
4.24 | 90 ratings
DEDALUS
Dedalus
4.32 | 53 ratings
LEB I SOL 2
Leb I Sol
4.21 | 108 ratings
MILES DAVIS QUINTET: MILES SMILES
Davis, Miles
4.17 | 168 ratings
WHAT IF
Dixie Dregs
4.27 | 68 ratings
ORGANIK
Niacin
4.15 | 243 ratings
AJA
Steely Dan
4.16 | 208 ratings
WHERE HAVE I KNOWN YOU BEFORE
Return To Forever
4.16 | 175 ratings
THE LOST TRIDENT SESSIONS
Mahavishnu Orchestra
4.28 | 60 ratings
DEDICATED TO YOU, BUT YOU WEREN'T LISTENING
Tippett Group, Keith
4.31 | 52 ratings
AGITOR LUCENS V
Arco Iris
4.19 | 119 ratings
SECRET STORY
Metheny , Pat
4.13 | 335 ratings
SANTANA
Santana
4.28 | 58 ratings
JAN HAMMER GROUP: OH,YEAH?
Hammer, Jan
4.15 | 195 ratings
FAIRYPORT
Wigwam
4.36 | 41 ratings
SUDAMÉRICA O EL REGRESO A LA AURORA
Arco Iris
4.30 | 50 ratings
FABULIS MIRABILIBUS DE BOMBYCOSI SCRIPTIS
Kenso
4.43 | 30 ratings
THE HOOK
Tolonen, Jukka
4.22 | 72 ratings
ALMA DE DIAMANTE
Spinetta Jade
4.20 | 79 ratings
INDÍGENA
Mar de Robles
4.24 | 62 ratings
RAHMANN
Rahmann
4.17 | 100 ratings
PAT METHENY & LYLE MAYS: AS FALLS WICHITA, SO FALLS WICHITA FALLS
Metheny , Pat
4.26 | 54 ratings
EWAZ VADER
One Shot
4.13 | 169 ratings
QUANTUM
Planet X
4.35 | 36 ratings
SPEAK NO EVIL
Shorter, Wayne
4.10 | 277 ratings
BRUFORD: ONE OF A KIND
Bruford, Bill
4.10 | 312 ratings
UNORTHODOX BEHAVIOUR
Brand X
4.13 | 157 ratings
CHICAGO [AKA: CHICAGO II]
Chicago
4.19 | 78 ratings
SENTIMENTS
Iceberg
4.12 | 158 ratings
SEXTANT
Hancock, Herbie
4.18 | 82 ratings
PIHKASILMÄ KAARNAKORVA
Pohjola, Pekka
4.21 | 64 ratings
FERMÁTA
Fermata
4.19 | 74 ratings
4TH
D.F.A.
4.12 | 154 ratings
VISITATION
Pohjola, Pekka
4.33 | 37 ratings
UOMA
Uzva
4.82 | 13 ratings
GUILLAUME PERRET & THE ELECTRIC EPIC
Guillaume Perret & the Electric Epic
4.28 | 44 ratings
CRNA DAMA [AKA: BLACK LADY]
Smak
4.23 | 56 ratings
BELIEVE IT
Williams Lifetime, Tony
4.09 | 226 ratings
BLOW BY BLOW
Beck, Jeff
4.16 | 81 ratings
LAMBERTLAND
Tasavallan Presidentti
4.62 | 17 ratings
AD PERPETUUM
Fafard, Antoine
4.11 | 147 ratings
MASQUES
Brand X
4.12 | 117 ratings
MANEIGE
Maneige
4.13 | 105 ratings
MILES DAVIS QUINTET: NEFERTITI
Davis, Miles
4.18 | 66 ratings
STRAIGHT TO THE KRANKENHAUS
Secret Oyster
4.47 | 22 ratings
THE FOLLOWING MORNING
Weber, Eberhard
4.07 | 233 ratings
MOROCCAN ROLL
Brand X
4.18 | 62 ratings
CONTRE-COURANT
Opus-5
4.24 | 45 ratings
RUCNI RAD
Leb I Sol
4.10 | 135 ratings
METAL FATIGUE
Holdsworth, Allan
4.53 | 19 ratings
HALLUCINATION ENGINE
Material
4.11 | 110 ratings
EROTIC CAKES
Govan, Guthrie
4.45 | 22 ratings
RITES
Garbarek, Jan
4.21 | 51 ratings
LOS ELEMENTALES
Arco Iris
4.41 | 24 ratings
MUNDO FLOTANTE
Ontalva, Ángel
4.11 | 108 ratings
HUASCARAN
Fermata
4.40 | 25 ratings
DIUMENGE
Companyia Elèctrica Dharma
4.14 | 76 ratings
WATERCOLORS
Metheny , Pat
4.36 | 27 ratings
SIMILARITY
Eyot
4.15 | 73 ratings
KING CRIMSON SONGBOOK, VOLUME ONE
Crimson Jazz Trio
4.20 | 50 ratings
YELLOW FIELDS
Weber, Eberhard
4.18 | 54 ratings
DUTY FREE AREA
D.F.A.

Jazz Rock/Fusion overlooked and obscure gems albums new


Random 4 (reload page for new list) | As selected by the Jazz Rock/Fusion experts team

CAMINO DEL CONCIERTO
Guadalquivir
ETNA
Etna
SUDDEN DUSK
However
GET UP WITH IT
Davis, Miles

Latest Jazz Rock/Fusion Music Reviews


 Innate by EYOT album cover Studio Album, 2017
3.94 | 7 ratings

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Innate
Eyot Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by BrufordFreak
Collaborator Jazz-Rock / Fusion / Canterbury Team

4 stars Refreshing new Post Rock from Serbia featuring piano-based instrumentals with roots in both classical, jazz, and Serbian folk musics.

1. "Veer" (6:03) Beautiful song though the second section's piano display gets a little lost and 'separated' from the main group. How awesome would this be with MIDAS FALL's Elizabeth Heaton singing over this! (9/10)

2. "Helm" (4:46) awesome non-piano-based opening takes its time to establish its weave. When piano joins in at 0:50 mark, the song is ready to just keep cruisin'. Very jazz familiar. And great lead melody from the piano. (9/10)

3. "Mountain" (5:08) delicate, almost GEORGE WINSTON/CLAUDE DEBUSSY-like solo piano intro, no other instrument joins in until the 2:06 mark. My favorite song on the album. (9.5/10)

4. "Perun" (5:32) sounds like it could come from the soundtrack to a modern-day dystopian episode of Charlie Brown/Peanuts! (8/10)

5. "Canon Of Insolation" (4:48) opens with guitar effects before very solid Post Rock rhythm and weave establishes itself. Very nice work from all instrumentalists: great flow, restraint, and proficiency. Probably the best song on the album (as opposed to my favorite). Debussy-like piano solo in middle is my favorite part. (9.5/10)

6. "Ramonda Serbica" (7:07) great jazz opening before classical-sounding piano joins. Then distorted pedal wah electric guitar presents with its creepy fade and slide and echoed notes. Interesting. (8.5/10)

7. "Innate" (5:46) sounds very much like a jam in continuation of previous song. Very like Reine Fiske's collaborations with Ståle Storløkken's ELEPHANT9. Nice bass play. Nice ending to the album! (9/10)

A near-masterpiece of jazz- and classically-tinged Post Rock progressive rock music.

 Waves by RYPDAL, TERJE album cover Studio Album, 1977
3.69 | 27 ratings

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Waves
Terje Rypdal Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by Matti
Prog Reviewer

3 stars Terje Rypdal is a notable long-term musician in Norway's fusion scene. This seventh album contains six tracks and features Rypdal on electric guitar and synths, Palle Mikkelborg on trumpet, flugelhorn and synths plus the rhythm section of Sveinung Hovensjo and Jon Christensen.

'Per Ulv' is groovy with busy constant percussion, while guitar and trumpet make the composition airy. (BTW, on Rypdal's 1995 album If Mountains Could Sing is a track called 'The Return of Per Ulv' which is fantastic. Compared to that, this one was slightly disappointing.) On a blindfold test it would be fairly easy to place the music on the late seventies, even though the thick use of synths brings some 80's flavour as well. There's some resemblance to the late 70's or the 80's PEKKA POHJOLA, except that Pekka's music would probably have more emotion.

'Karusell', unlike one would expect from such title, is a slow-paced, ethereal, ambient piece starring trumpet in a lead role, at first almost free of percussion (mostly just some light cymbals). Might be a bit sleepy for an average fusion listener, but it is fairly pleasant for a patient, ambient-minded listener. 'Stenskoven' is the shortest track and composed by Mikkelborg whereas all the others are written by Rypdal. Curiously this one has a carousel-like feel, not 'Karusell'. Again, it reminds me of some lighter 80's tracks of Pekka Pohjola, on the Space Waltz album for example.

'Waves' is the highlight, very atmospheric and spacey. Here you get a lot of the meditative electric guitar sound so distinctively Rypdal's. 'The Dain Curse' is, like 'Per Ulv', a mixture of steady funkiness and ambientish soloing especially for the trumpet. Hmm, nice, but there could be more musical progression for nearly nine minutes. 'Charisma' is the other highlight (I'm backing Mellotron Storm in this opinion), a slow, cinematic epic of delicate atmosphere. The dialogue-like contributions of electric guitar and trumpet make the piece beautiful.

My rating is 3½ stars, and in theory it could have been rounded up to four. I haven't heard very many Rypdal albums (for years I haven't been listening to him altogether), and this one might very well be on the better side of the scale. But for leaving me slightly cold right now, three stars will do. My favourite Norwegian is still Jan Garbarek. Nevertheless, warmly recommended to those who are into ambient-oriented modern fusion.

 Moonflower by SANTANA album cover Live, 1977
3.75 | 98 ratings

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Moonflower
Santana Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by Tarcisio Moura
Prog Reviewer

3 stars This is quite bizarre, really. A part live, part studio album double album: it should be one studio and one live album, shouldn´t it? Well, someone had the "great" idea of putting those tracks side by side and the results are annoying. The live songs are ok, I suppose, but at a different pace, they are much faster than the studio counterparts, which make the flow so uneven. And I can´t understand why, since Santana puts a great live show since the early days and still does so many years after they were formed. They deserved a "proper" live album by that time (Lotus did not count, since it was not available outside Japan until the early 90´s).

The studio tracks are good, and point a transitional period. They dropped much of the soul and funky influences of Amigos and Festival and clearly they were aiming for the Album Oriented Rock format that they would pursue during the late 70´s and early 80´s. The success of the cover song of the Zombies She´s Not There showed the way, and certainly helped to make this album a big hit (it went platinum, the first one to do so since Caravanserai in 1972). Even some of the new songs were written in that style (I`ll be Waiting), while others still maintain the earlier Santana sound (the instrumental Zulu). Even the brazilian connection was maintained through the obvious Bahia. The best track however, is another instrumental, Flor de Luna (Moonflower in spanish): this rumba-like tune is typical Santana guitar piece since Samba Pa Ti, where Carlos shows off his unique melodic style in great form. So simple, nothing new, and still so magical! El Morocco is another powerful number while the soul ballad Transcendance sounds like a leftover from Festival.

In all, Moonflower could have been a fine studio and a reasonable live album if the live and studio tracks were not interspersed one with another. As it is the CD is too uenven and does not make me fell like listening to it as a whole. A real shame. However, it does have some real good stuff here, so a 3 star rating is a fair one.

 Octave Of The Holy Innocents (with Buckethead And Michael Shrieve) by HELLBORG, JONAS album cover Studio Album, 1992
4.14 | 21 ratings

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Octave Of The Holy Innocents (with Buckethead And Michael Shrieve)
Jonas Hellborg Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by siLLy puPPy
Collaborator PSIKE & JR/F/Canterbury Teams

4 stars The album OCTAVE OF THE HOLY INNOCENTS (which is a mixing of two Christian biblical accounts - "Massacre of the Innocents" referring to the infanticide of Herod the Great and the term OCTAVE which refers to the eighth day after a feast) is a crossroads for the three distinct musical careers passing for a brief blip in time. The album was constructed and initiated by the Swedish jazz- fusion bassist JONAS HELLBORG who after working with the likes of Shawn Lane, John McLaughlin and a whole list of others decided to put together an acoustic trio of performers to cross-pollinate his jazz-fusion style with other musical talents.

On drums is the veteran percussive talent of MICHAEL SHRIEVE, the percussionist extraordinaire who helped usher Santana to worldwide fame when he wooed a new generation at Woodstock as the youngest performer in the entire event. Also on board was some new blood in the form of the strange chicken loving guitarist BUCKETHEAD who after only one album under his belt was already making waves in musicians' circles. This is in fact only the second album he played on in 1993 at the tender age of 24. Instead of releasing the album under a solo billing, HELLBORG democratically gave the album credits to all three participants.

OCTAVE OF THE HOLY INNOCENTS is an all acoustic instrumental affair with five lengthy tracks clocking in over the 42 minute mark. BUCKETHEAD plays exclusively acoustic guitar whereas HELLBORG plays acoustic bass and adds keyboards occasionally. SHRIEVE sticks to a traditional drum set and steers clear of any of the Latin rhythms of his Santana days. The music on this one is primarily set within the context of HELLBORG's style of jazz-fusion progressive chording and virtuosic bass slapping techniques. The tracks are well constructed jazz-fusion pieces that allow extended jamming sessions to let all three instrumentalists strut their stuff.

The fifteen minute opener "Rana And Fara" swallows up a whole third of the album and runs the gamut of extreme placid tranquil build ups that peak and trough and ultimately cede into more technical and energetic workouts. The true technical prowess is displayed on "Death That Sleeps In Them" where all three performers engage in jazz-fusion workouts that are literally melting strings and skins alike and display the newbie BUCKETHEAD more than able to keep up with the big kids on the block. "The Past Is A Different Country, I Don't Live There Anymore" is a much more reflective piece that stretches out to over nine minutes and reminds me of some of Mahavishnu Orchestra's more serene moments which obviously rubbed off on HELLBORG during his days with John McLaughlin.

"Child King" is probably my favorite track on the album as it traverses through flamenco meets jazz type workouts with a touch of Classical Hindustani in the mix. SHRIEVE exercises some of his most adroit drum and cymbal action on this one. "Kidogo" is an energetic closer that shows an exciting tension in the contrast of HELLBORG's bombastic bass compete with the drums while BUCKETHEAD creates atmospheric slide effects and other mind-bending riffage. OMG! This is truly an album of top notch professionals at the helm and they all perform with each other spectacularly. There is not a shred of ego to be felt and each musician perfectly complements the other for the entirely of the album's run. A very exciting stripped down piece of musical art here.

4.5 rounded down

 Festivál by SANTANA album cover Studio Album, 1976
2.70 | 82 ratings

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Festivál
Santana Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by Tarcisio Moura
Prog Reviewer

3 stars Although on Festival Carlos Santana promoted another almost complete change of the group´s line up (only keyboards player Tom Coster was retained from the Amigos personnel), this is much a continuation of the previous effort. The good news were the return of singer Leon Patillo, who did a good job on 1974´s Borboletta. The bad news were the dismissal of original bassist Dave Brown (probably due to his heroin addiction: he would die in 2000). Festival is probably the most latin influenced album of Santana´s entire career, with no less than 3 tracks entirely sung in spanish. However, he didn´t drop the funk/soul traits that plagued Amigos. And the undesirable effect was the same: sometimes it seems that we are listening not only to two different bands playing at the same CD but also two completely different songs and styles.

On the plus side we have the trio of tracks that segue into each other to form a mini suite: Carnaval/let the children play/Jugando. It´s a great opener. Revelations is another gem, one of his great instrumentals that you only wish it could be longer. Verão Vermelho (red summer in portuguese) is another fine version of this classic brazilian instrumental track, where Carlos Santana shows off his skills with the classical guitar. The rumba Maria Caracoles is the one song I really don´t like it, although I have to admit that it works with the general feeling of the album (well, it should be a festival, shouldn´t it?); But tunes like Let The music Set You Free, Try a little harden and Reach Up are totally out of tune with the remaining of the album, being that kind of slick funk that sounds like a lot of black acts of the period, but nothing like Santana.

So in the end, Festival is a natural follow up to Amigos, if such thing exists. Although there is no real classic stuff here like Europa, it still has enough good tracks to warrant it a three star rating (more like 2,7, really). But I would not recommended it for a newbie. Go get their first four albums before tackling this one.

 Amigos by SANTANA album cover Studio Album, 1976
3.25 | 119 ratings

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Amigos
Santana Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by Tarcisio Moura
Prog Reviewer

3 stars Carlos Santana, being much more a jazz fan than a jazz player, was bound to drop his jazz rock/fusion elements sooner or later. And in Amigos that happened. It seemed that he would go back to what he does best: a mix of latin music, rock and blues. But that was not to be. Granted, some of his best features are back: the percussion is upfront again, the instrumentals are simpler and rockier, and his guitar is more prominent than in his two previous albums. But most of the vocal tracks show his new found love (or commercial eye) for funk, soul and gospel. Interesting enough, some jazz masters did fell in love with the same style a few years before (like Herbie Hancock in his Headhunters period). The results here, however, are quite uneven.

The record starts well with the latin beat of Dance Sister Dance (Baila Mi Hermana), a nice track, a bit repetitive at the beginning, but saved by the guitar solo on the fast second part. The frenetic beginning of Take Me With You reminds us of the good old times, with Tom Coster delivering a swirling Hammond organ solo that makes justice to the departed Gregg Rolie. The calmer second part is still good, but nothing special. Trouble starts with the fast funky Let Me: this track has nothing to do with Santana and the same can be said of Tell Me Are You Tired and the gospel/soul/funk ballad Let It shine ( the only single released from Amigos and a minor hit for the band). All three feature the same clavinet sound and black girl backing vocals. In fact, they could be easily be mistaken as several funk acts of the period, like Jimmy Castor or Sly and Family Stone . Not really bad, but clearly out of place here.

The redemption part of the record is the classic Europa: one of Santana´s best instrumental tracks ever, it was not released as a single in USA but became a hit in several european countries at the time, and it would deservedly stay on the band´s repertoire to this day. There we can find all the magic we are to expect from such a great, talented bunch: simplicity, feeling and soul all put together with a tasteful performance of all involved. A real masterpiece. Gitano is interesting spanish/mexican mix: nice, but nothing special. The typical latin party track you hope to pop up in any Santana album.

So, in the end Amigo is an album that is quite uneven: even if the funky numbers are not exactly bad per se, they do spoil the overall flow of the tracks and makes you think there are two bands, with two very different styles, playing on the same record. Like oil and water. They don´t mix.

Rating: 4 stars for the instrumental tracks, 3 stars for Gitano and Dance Sister Dance, 2 stars at most for the funky tunes. 3 stars is a fair rating for this mixed bag . Barely.

 Leña!!! En Vivo by TRIO, EL album cover Live, 2014
4.00 | 2 ratings

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Leña!!! En Vivo
El Trio Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by kev rowland
Special Collaborator Crossover Prog Team

4 stars This is the band's first live album, and it was originally self-released by the band as a DVD in September 2014, and has now been released as a digital album by Progshine. Away from the studio, with no additional musicians, here we find El Trio acting far more in the style associated with bands such as Cream. The guitar is right at the front of the mix, Jonatan's vocals are packed with emotion, while Johandy and Kilvin keep it all locked down. What is interesting for me is that Kilvin is still playing a fretless bass in the live environment, but what he lacks in attack he more than makes up for in emotion.

This is obviously where El Trio really come to life, far more than in the studio, and this music has a far rougher edge with less of the Caribbean and South American influences and far more straight ahead hard rock with jazz and blues elements combined with psychedelia. They somehow manage to channel Blue Cheer during this performance, it is that fuzzed, distorted and aggressive. Recorded in Santiago, it would be good for the band to be able to break out of their geographical territory as music as strong and vibrant as this deserves to be heard everywhere. I may have no idea what they are singing about, but I do know that I enjoyed this immensely and I know that many others would as well if they heard it. Hopefully these reissues from Progshine will find the band gaining interest from new territories, and it will be interesting to hear where they go to from here.

 Las Manos by TRIO, EL album cover Studio Album, 2013
4.00 | 4 ratings

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Las Manos
El Trio Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by kev rowland
Special Collaborator Crossover Prog Team

4 stars

This 2013 release saw the same line-up as the last one, but an even more extended list of guest musicians as the band continued to expand their musical styles. This is easily the most powerful album of the three, as the band mix jazz with hard rock, fusion, progressive styles, blues and Caribbean stylings to create something that really works. To my ears, it is also the first time where Jonatan's vocals play a positive role as he seems to have a far better idea of what will work best with the instrumentation, moving between a rough hard-edged gruff style and falsetto where it is the right place to do it.

There is a palpable confidence on the album, perhaps due in some part to reaching their tenth anniversary as a band and for making it through to their third album. I know very little (okay, nothing) about the music scene in the Dominican Republic, but I would guess that by the time of this release El Trio were very well known indeed. The album was still recorded in their home country but was mixed in the States, and the sound quality is spot on. If you are intrigued to understand what El Trio are doing, then this is the album to start with, as it is well worth it.

 La Blanca Y La Gris by TRIO, EL album cover Studio Album, 2009
3.52 | 4 ratings

BUY
La Blanca Y La Gris
El Trio Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by kev rowland
Special Collaborator Crossover Prog Team

3 stars

Two years on from the debut, and El Trio were back with their second album 'La Blanca Y La Gris' (The white and the grey). I tend to play albums initially through iTunes, and this was the first one of theirs that I heard as it was the first one to appear in the playlist due to where the title appeared in the alphabet. What this meant was that I managed to treat myself to possibly the worst introduction to the band, as while the jazz rock is forceful with a huge input of blues, along with South American influences, it is also the one where the vocals jar most for me. Jonatan has a vocal style that seems to either work very well and is totally in keeping with the music or isn't working at all, and when it is the latter it is quite painful.

But, he more than makes up for it with some great guitarwork again. There was a line-up change between the two albums, as drummer Pablo Peña had departed to be replaced by Johandy Ureña. They also brought in an additional percussionist, as well as a guest guitarist on one number and a guest trombonist on another. The music is more forceful than the debut, and is a real progression as they have expanded but to my ears it would have been better either as an instrumental release or with a different vocalist.

 Siempre Que Hay Un Corazón... by TRIO, EL album cover Studio Album, 2007
3.50 | 2 ratings

BUY
Siempre Que Hay Un Corazón...
El Trio Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by kev rowland
Special Collaborator Crossover Prog Team

3 stars El Trio is a jazz rock fusion trio from Dominican Republic, formed in 2003 by Jonatan Pi'a Duluc (vocals, guitar, keyboard, saxophone, producer), Kilvin Pe'a (bass, backing vocals) and Pablo Pe'a (drums, backing vocals). 'Siempre Que Hay Un Coraz'n...' (Whenever there is a heart) was their debut album, original released in 2007 and now digitally reissued in 2017 by Progshine Records. As far as I'm aware, this is the first band I have heard from the Dominican Republic, but music really doesn't have any boundaries, and this in Jonatan they have a quite outstanding guitarist, who can shred with the best of them.

It is obvious that Kilvin is playing a fretless bass, which allows for some real warmth and depth, while his relationship with Pablo is incredibly strong. For me the songs that really work are those without such a high South American feel to them, as these move more to the mainstream. Also, Jonatan is an okay singer, but nothing more than that and I personally would have liked to have heard more passages where he is leading proceedings with his sterling guitarwork. Given that this was a self-release the production is strong, and I can see why Progshine Records have decided to make this available once again.

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Jazz Rock/Fusion bands/artists list

Bands/Artists Country
3RD WORLD ELECTRIC Multi-National
4 FRONT United States
7 FOR 4 Germany
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ABLUTION Sweden
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ABUS DANGEREUX France
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AFROSKULL United States
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ANTIHÉROE Argentina
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APOTHECARY United States
AQUARELLE Canada
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ARENA Australia
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